New Jersey voters might have to wait a little longer for updated election laws if Gov. Chris Christie’s statements on a reform bill translate into a veto. Christie has spoken critically of the reform package, cast by Democrats as a major overhaul of the state’s 20th-century election system. The Democrat-led statehouse sent Christie the bill just as he formally begins his run for the Republican presidential nomination and as a debate simmers between the political parties over reforming state election laws. Republican lawmakers across the country are aiming to crack down on fraud and impose identification requirements and Democrats are seeking to automate registration and expand election rolls. For Christie, talking tough on the issue might give him an opportunity to demonstrate his conservative credentials, experts say, as the New Jersey Legislation contrasts with what Republican legislators in some states — like neighboring Pennsylvania — have pursued. Pennsylvania’s GOP-led Legislature passed legislation requiring photo identification at the polls, but it was struck down by a court.
The New Jersey legislation would enact automatic voter registration when residents apply for driver’s licenses, establish early voting and authorize pre-registration for 17-year-olds, among other measures.
The issue has seeped into the presidential contest. Christie tussled last month with Hillary Clinton, who suggested Republicans favor making it harder for people to vote, saying she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Despite the wrangling, the issue does not appear to be the driving issue in the presidential race, according to polls. But there is more than the presidential politics in the mix. At the state level, the parties could gain or lose from the legislation as well, experts point out.
Full Article: Christie faces decision on election laws.